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Special Olympics bronze medalist Kevin Callaghan shares story, confronts labels

first_imgKevin Callaghan, a bronze medalist in the 5,000-meter race at the 2011 Special Olympics, spoke at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday evening regarding his experiences as an athlete. The event, sponsored by Multicultural Services, served as part of the College’s Disability Awareness Week.Saint Mary’s junior Maryselva Albarran Hernandez commented on the significance of the event, saying although there have been many projects promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, there were very few events surrounding disabilities.“We noticed that there were a lot of projects and events happening that were focused on diversity and inclusion in religion, race, ethnicity and LQBTQ issues, but there was nothing for increasing awareness on disabilities,” she said. “This is a big concern because we do have students with disabilities on our campus and it’s important for them to feel included.” Tags: 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Disability Awareness Week, Kevin Callaghan, Special Olympics Natalie Weber | The Observer Special Olympian and bronze medalist Kevin Callaghan presents at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday in Vander Vennet Theatre. The event was a part of Saint Mary’s inaugural Diversity Awareness Week.Albarran Hernandez said Callaghan is committed to speaking up and helping others who suffer from intellectual disabilities, similar to those he and his brother face.“He wants to be a role model for those who may not have a voice and wants to be their voice,” she said. “He wants to be able to provide the tools for people to voice their concerns and he wants to motivate others to speak up and I love that about him.”Callaghan was diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability, which he said is nothing more than a label. He said that a disability doesn’t always mean disabled. Every person is gifted in their own way, he said, and trying to live life to its fullest with the talents that they have.“I do things like anyone else, just at a slower pace,” he said. “I can drive a car; I live in my own apartment; I am self-sufficient. It wasn’t easy though, I had to work a lot harder to achieve my goals.”Callaghan said he always enjoyed running and competing. Sports have helped him in many ways, he said, by allowing him to make connections, find his passion and make new friends. One of the biggest highlights of running was the opportunity to compete against other athletes who were just like him.“When I was 10 years old, my parents offered me to be a medical guinea pig and the doctors injected my legs with Botox,” he said. “It worked. The medicine caused my muscles to relax and I was able to walk normally. That may sound like a little thing, but when you have special needs, it’s really important to be as normal as you can be. I decided to try out for my high school’s cross-country team, and I had a great coach who didn’t care about what I couldn’t do — he only cared about what I could do. By the time I was a senior, I was the fastest guy on the team and was voted MVP by the end of the season.”Seven years ago, Callaghan, who wore his Olympic medal around his neck, competed in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.“I ran on the same track as Usain Bolt, competed against some of the best Special Olympic athletes in the world and won a bronze medal,” he said.Kevin’s father Jim Callaghan said although it was difficult coming to terms with two of his kids suffering from intellectual disabilities, his greatest goal has always been to make sure his kids were happy. Both of Kevin’s parents became actively involved in the Special Olympics as coaches.“There was an adult special Olympics group, but they didn’t have a kids division,” Jim said. “So, we called the state and said we wanna start a Logan Center kids team. The first year it was only Kevin, the next year it was like, eight kids, and now the program has been running for 20 something years.”Jim said his son is a role model for a number of people and is referred to as ‘the mayor’ by some of his friends because he knows everyone in his town.“It’s not just about me but there are so many stories of people with disabilities,” Kevin said. “I love people and I also have many friends with autism, so I always try to think about how things would affect me if I was in another person’s shoes. If it was up to me, I wish there was a universal healthcare for everybody in the world.”last_img read more

Go out and FIND your adventure with FIND Outdoors!

first_imgNorthwest Trading Post on the BRP Mile Marker 259 Socially distanced, guided hike to benefit the Mountains-To-Sea Trail at the Trading Post FIND Outdoors, formerly the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association, is one of the longest-running nonprofits in western North Carolina, and was begun as a “Friends of” group in 1972 to help operate the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest. Over time, the mission of the group expanded well beyond the Cradle and today, includes campgrounds, visitor centers and sales outlets in North Carolina, Indiana and Georgia. With a mission of education and recreation on our public and private lands, our goal is to help you FIND your adventure and make a connection to the natural world through our managed sites, programming and unique outdoor merchandise and souvenirs. Core to the culture at FIND Outdoors has been, and continues to be ensuring equitable outdoor experiences on our public and private lands for all – regardless of age, ability and socio-economic background. As the COVID pandemic has put a strain on society’s ability to interact with our fellow humans, nature and the great outdoors will continue to be the route that allows for healing, peace and a calm mind. As FIND continues to adapt to the needs of our visitors in a thoughtful way, we will continue to create comfortable, safe spaces at our sites to ensure that everyone gets a chance to enjoy what nature has given all of us – equally. As we reflect on the year 2020 and the challenges that we’ve faced as a nation and as a planet, one thing remains constant – the peace, tranquility and calming effect that the outdoors has on our souls. We welcome you to join FIND Outdoors in exploring our sites and discover for yourself why you should FIND your adventure with us! One of FIND’s campground managers at Morganton Point Campground, Georgia. Cover Photo: The peak of Brasstown Bald, GA during a special Astro-Photography workshop, photo courtesy of Find Outdoorsacenter_img As FIND worked to advance our mission throughout the years, the organization took on larger, regional roles in campground and visitor center management, as well as operations of sales outlets and began reinvesting heavily into our educational programming. FIND’s strength has been our collaborative efforts with local and national partners to achieve goals to benefit public lands. The US Forest Service has been our longest-running partner for decades but with the additional partnership of the National Park Service to operate the Northwest Trading Post on the Blue Ridge Parkway, our desire to branch out and expand became a reality. Additionally, we work with other non-profits and community partners such as the Friends of the Mountains-To-Sea Trail to aid in maintenance and upkeep of NC’s longest thru-hike trail. To learn more about our organization, access our free educational materials, make a donation or FIND your next adventure, please visit www.gofindoutdoors.org or call 828-883-FIND. We’ll be happy to help you FIND an outdoor experience that you’ll remember! FIND unveiled its new brand name and look in March of 2020 to better unify all sites operated under the name FIND Outdoors – a name that literally spells out what we do: Forest Inspired Nature Discovery. After years of mistaken identity and confusing logos, it was time for the nonprofit to reflect on the message we were sending to our visitors and what path we wanted to travel with the organization as a whole. The intensive rebranding, which took place smack-dab in the middle of the COVID pandemic, cuts to the core of what we do while digging deep into the roots of our history. Education becomes a natural pathway to ensuring that the public, and especially FIND visitors, understand not just the importance of nonprofits in general, but the importance of our natural spaces for overall health. To this end, all FIND Outdoors sites offer safe, socially distanced educational opportunities in the form of nature-based and cultural programming, family activities, speakers and special events that highlight the Southern Appalachians and beyond. Our free, online “Virtual Forest Bathing” tour brought the wonder of our local forests to individuals from 21 states and seven countries, while the Cradle of Forestry offers parents and teachers free curriculum in the form of short, online videos that focus on social studies, nature and history.When not greeting visitors or helping the public FIND their connection to beautiful public lands, the headquarters staff, located in Pisgah Forest, NC, is hard at work at making sure nonprofit dollars are well spent. Because FIND relies heavily on grant funding, private donations and the revenue collected at the sites we manage, we make it a priority to reinvest our facilities, exhibits and programming at all managed sites. Grant support has allowed us to update the Cradle of Forestry with a Citizen Science Lab for students of all ages and abilities, creating a safe space for visitors to learn about modern forestry practices. Our “Round-Up” program at FIND visitor centers allows visitors to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar in order to use nickels and dimes to fund programs, facilities, speakers and exhibits. Additionally, we reinvest in campground and visitor center facilities throughout the year. Improvements to restrooms, trails and campground amenities are all examples of how we ensure public lands are available for generations to come.last_img read more

Chargers’ Melvin Gordon won’t report to training camp, reports say

first_imgScheduled to be paid $5.6 million in 2019, Gordon was at mandatory minicamp last month after sitting out voluntary workouts earlier this offseason. However, he informed the team that he won’t attend camp without a new deal and will demand a trade if he doesn’t get one.If Gordon’s holdout carries into the regular season, he would need to return by Week 10 in order to get credit for the final year of his four-year, $10,67 million contract. The Chargers could then use the franchise tag and try to trade him in the offseason. Related News To no one’s surprise, Melvin Gordon will be a training camp no-show Wednesday, according to multiple reports that cited unidentified sources.According to NFL Media, Gordon’s holdout “should be lengthy, as talks are expected to halt” and the team “will focus on the backs who are there” in camp. Gordon will be subject to fines as he follows through on his plans to hold out in hope of landing a new contract. Gordon has insisted he has the support of his teammates, who he says he told last week that he would be holding out, as well as top players around the league.”They’re all behind me. They all got my back,” Gordon told ESPN. “They all told me, ‘You know what — we don’t really speak on contracts — but you just go and do what’s best for your family.’ And I’m glad I got that support from them.” Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey arrives at training camp in armored money truck He added: “A lot of running backs have reached out to me just saying go out and get what you deserve.” Gordon, 26, had 1,375 combined rushing and receiving yards and a career-high 14 touchdowns last season, despite missing four games. The two-time Pro Bowl selection has had three consecutive seasons of more than 1,300 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Packers to release Mike Daniels, former Pro Bowl defensive tackle, report says Two Browns players in top 5 for NFLPA best-selling merchandise for first timelast_img read more